Bangladeshi workers beaten and humiliated by Iraqi soldiers

There are thousands of Bangladeshi construction workers in Iraq, most of whom are Sunnis.

Hundreds of Bangladeshi construction workers have been beaten and mocked by Iraqi soldiers after becoming dragged into their host country’s sectarian conflict. 

Some had their beards shaved off by the mainly Shiite Muslim troops after being accused of sympathising with Sunni insurgents while one of them was stripped naked, according to the men after they returned home.

“They abducted the Bangladeshi cleric from our camp mosque last Thursday and when he was released on Saturday, you could see torture marks all over his body,” Raqibul Islam told AFP in an interview in Dhaka.

“They burnt his beard with cigarettes and then cut it off with knife. His body was also beaten with stones.

“He was tortured because he is a Sunni. He was returned only after we stopped work and protested his abduction,” he added.

Mofidul Islam, another of the group of 21 workers who managed to return to Bangladesh on Tuesday, said abuses had been widespread.

“The Iraqis beat hundreds of our colleagues. They think that a beard is a sign that you are a Sunni militant so whoever has a big beard was targeted and beaten mercilessly,” said Islam.

“One of the workers was made to strip naked and then beaten. They entered our camps and locked the doors and then beat the workers with rifles,” he added.

The Bangladeshis were all working on construction projects in the Bismayah region, south of Baghdad, when Sunni militants began seizing large parts of the country from the Iraqi army last month.

While their Korean employer released the workers from their contracts, Raqibul said many had been stranded as they were unable to afford to buy plane tickets home.

“We bought the tickets at our own expense,” said Raqibul.

A senior Bangladeshi government official said the authorities in Dhaka had offered to help bring the workers home, but most were not interested as they had borrowed heavily to land a job in Iraq.

“They don’t want to return,” Showkat Hossain, secretary of Bangladesh’s overseas employment ministry, told AFP.

Officials say around 20,000 Bangladeshis are living in Iraq, although the actual number is thought to be much higher.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]

 

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT 5PILLARS

Shares 0

Add your comments below

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.